It’s often a good idea to pay some premium if you want a good gaming desktop. Very cheap models will not cut it, lacking a dedicated graphics card that would be essential with keeping your gaming sessions enjoyable. But here is something different: Lenovo X315 (90B00002US), a real budget gaming desktop. It doesn’t look bad on paper, but the important question is: does it really run games without problems when the price is so slow? I’ll try to answer that below!
Lenovo X315 (90B00002US) has an entry-level processor called AMD FX-77OK. In paper it’s excellent, there are two cores, 3.5GHz clock speed and 3.9GHz turbo speed available, not many CPUs can beat that eh? Well, benchmarks reveal the truth, CPU Mark giving the chip ~5100 points. It’s quite slower than, say, i5-4460 with ~6600 points so it’s not excellent CPU performance this Lenovo is known for. However, it wouldn’t matter so much for gamers for whom graphics card is more important thing. And such a processor can anyway run all the usual programs you probably use, such as web browser and Microsoft Office.
The desktop comes equipped with 8GB memory, type is DDR3 1600MHz RAM. Inside the unit, you’ll find in total four memory slots of which two are taken (by 4GB sticks). If you want to splurge you can go for 32GB memory by adding four 8GB sticks. I wouldn’t recommend that for starters, it’s good to begin with the eight gigabytes and see how it goes from there.
The storage section is golden. You’ll find both hard drive (1024GB 7200RPM) and solid-state drive (128GB) under the desktop’s hood. Such a setup is uncommon yet very useful: you can put all the large files on the hard drive and more commonly accessed ones on the SSD. Also, you don’t need to deal with drive upgrades with this system (there wouldn’t be free bays for extra drives anyway).
Does it run game X fine?
Lenovo X315 (90B00002US) features a new dedicated graphics engine called AMD Radeon R9 360. It has 2GB GDDR5 dedicated memory and support for FreeSync (prevention of screen tearing) and DirectX 12, so despite some people claiming these new Radeons are just rebadged models of the older versions, I’d still say this particular R9 360 is a mid to high range card. There are no benchmarks or real life rests available yet (September 2015), but it’s rumored that high/maxed out settings can be used with most current games if you play on 720p. With Counter-Strike: Go you could even use 1080p and get +60 frames per second. GTA 5 would give +40FPS with 720p and a lot of eye candy on.
Like with most desktops, Lenovo X315 (90B00002US) has 8 USB ports. Four of those are USB 3.0 and all are located in the back, indeed the front only houses USB 2.0 connectors. The graphics card’s back panel has three video outputs (HDMI, DVI and DisplayPort), so you’ll have no problem setting up two monitors at the same time.
A DVD burner (no BluRay) is available in the front. Flash media is also supported, there’s a memory card reader for SD, MS and MMC cards.
Communications are everything one could ask for – a Gigabit LAN port and 802.11ac WiFi adapter with Bluetooth 4.0 enabled.
Lenovo X315 (90B00002US) doesn’t come with a monitor, you must get the screen separately. USB keyboard and mouse are however included.
Operating system is Windows 8.1 (64-bit) but fear not, you’ll be able to get a free upgrade to Windows 10 for some more time.
Because the current graphics card is installed on a PCI-e X16 slot, you’ll be able to upgrade the graphics engine by removing the old card first. The PSU is quite capable 450W so could be you don’t need to change it after a graphics card upgrade.
Lenovo X315 (90B00002US) might be an ideal choice if you want budget gaming. The Radeon R9 360 has the ability to pull ~60FPS on many new titles, but only if you use medium-high settings and perhaps resolution lower than Full HD. Other good things include a decent quad-core AMD processor and 8GB RAM, although the best thing is storage section with a hard and solid-state drive. If gaming is your thing, but paying a lot is not, this kind of Lenovo should be something to consider!